Local Melbourne Developer Dark Shadow Studio's Drone Racing Simulator, titled Drone Legion, impressed me so much I just had to put something together on it. Casey and Reece, the founders and lead developers kindly gave me a go, albeit while they were still setting up with T-10 minutes left before the hordes of PAXies (and even some PIXies lol) arrived through the doors!
Sitting down to play, Reece offered me a choice of PlayStation style or Xbox controller. I asked whether the 6 channel FlySky Radio Control Transmitter I'd spotted on the table was for decorative purposes only. Being a raving drone fanboy myself I have ample familiarity with such a beast, and to my shock and delight Reece said he'd hook it up no worries!
So here we had a VR drone racing simulation, using a real controller, could it be that I don't even have to leave the house to go and terrorise the neighbourhood with my flying skills?
Casey who is the CEO of Dark Shadow Studio's, kindly made some time available to answer some questions:
PCGamers - "Can you give us some detail on the history of the project?"
Casey @ DSS - "We started this project in February 2016 it was previously known as "Drone VR" however we have renamed it to "Drone Legion". It began as a project between myself and Reece as Lead Designer. We created a demo video in 9 days to take to GDC (Game Developers Conference) in San Francisco in March. After GDC we came back and redid the code and art style and since then we have had a pretty dedicated team working on Drone Legion to showcase it at this year's PAX."
PCGamers - "When are you are aiming to release Drone Legion?"
Casey @ DSS - "We are looking to release 10 playable levels by June 2017, fingers crossed but things do pop up or take longer than expected but June is our goal."
PCGamers - "Can you tell us about the Software Tech, what is it coded in and how has that platform been to work with?"
Casey @ DSS - "Unreal Engine. Our physics programmer had to create the entire code from scratch even though Unreal Engine is very user friendly it does not have real world drone physics which is what we are after – so now that we have created these physics we can manipulate the Engine to do what we need it to, easily."
PCGamers - "What hardware platforms will you support, what VR equipment and controllers?"
Casey @ DSS - "Our targeted platforms are PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 with the possibility to cross over onto mobile devices once we are happy with our release of Drone Legion. We want to keep Drone Legion as compatible as possible so currently it runs on PC with the Xbox One and PS4 gamepads however as drone pilots could also benefit from Drone Legion we have set it up that you can use an RC Transmitter (drone controller). Which leads me to another aspect, we are cohesively bringing together VR, with VR and Drones the hot topic at the moment we have combined these two items together and since drone pilots use FPV already we've made our VR use in first person or third person view."
PCGamers - "How has the reception to the game been so far?"
Casey @ DSS - "Since our showcase at PAX Sony, Microsoft, the Unreal Engine and NVIDIA VRWorks have offered their support and we are excited to be a part of the development and growth of Drone Legion!"
Thanks Casey and good luck on the Drone Legion project!